Want to reduce your risk of colon polyps, commonly seen as a precursor to cancer? Lots of research has looked at broad categories of foods… fruits and veggies for instance, now we have a study that’s focusing on specific foods from a high fiber food diet.
Researchers have found that those who regularly eat foods like brown rice; legumes (beans, peas, lentils), cooked green veggies and dried fruits had a lower chance of colon polyps, recognized as a precursor to cancer of the colon.
The recommendations come after an analysis of data from nearly 3000 subjects taking part in a Study who were monitored for an astonishing 26 years.
The participants completed an initial survey that asked how often, on average, they ate specific foods. The follow up survey asked respondents who had undergone colonoscopies to report any colon polyps their doctor had diagnosed. During this 26-year study period, just short of 450 people went on to develop rectal or colon polyps.
The potentially troublesome colon polyp is a fleshy growth that appears on the inner lining of your large intestine. The growths are surprisingly common, and they are even more likely as the years pass.
Doctors know that about 75% of some polyps, known technically as adenomas, will become cancerous if given time enough to grow. This is why your health care team makes such a fuss about having those screenings when you should. Screening is still the best way to prevent disease from taking hold.
The researchers found that risk of polyps reduced by 40% in people who had brown rice once a week; 33% lower among these who ate legumes at a minimum of three times per week.
Eating dried fruits three or more times per week was linked to a 26% lower risk when compared to those who ate less than one dried fruit a week.
As for the cooked green veggies, eating them daily was linked to a 24% lower risk compared to those who ate them on less than five occasions per week.
These numbers held even after the team accounted for factors like a family history of colon cancer, education, physical activity level, intake of alcohol, smoking status, constipation, intake of sweets, use of pain medication and intake of multivitamins. Food variables were also considered, and adjusted for as needed.
So what do the foods studied have in common?
They’re all healthy options, of course… but more importantly; they all contain a lot of fiber that’s known to reduce potential carcinogens in the body. What’s more, cruciferous veggies (broccoli is one) also have detoxifying compounds that might make them a very natural way to protect the lining of the intestine from trouble.
Study researchers believe eating these kinds of foods can help to reduce the number of colon polyps you have, and thus your risk for developing colon cancer.
We know that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and the third most common type of cancer in both men and women according to the American Cancer Society. If you can keep yourself from joining that number, do so.
More work will need to be done on the benefits of a high fiber food diet for lowering the risk of developing colon polyps. In the meantime, have the screenings recommended for your age and health, and make the changes (even small ones) to your diet that will help protect you from this too-often-deadly disease… while you still can.